Questions About Neuromuscular Dentistry
Encinitas, Carlsbad, and San Diego
Some people spend years in intense discomfort or even debilitating pain because they cannot find a definitive diagnosis for their headaches, jaw or shoulder pain, or persistent ringing in their ears (tinnitus). In many cases, these people are suffering from TMD, or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. Neuromuscular dentistry can help. Dr. Mary Walsh-Cole is an experienced neuromuscular dentist and can provide a detailed consultation to determine if TMD is the cause of your pain issues.
How is neuromuscular dentistry different from other kinds of dentistry?
Traditionally, dentistry focuses on the health and well-being of the teeth and gums. By ensuring proper hygiene and helping strengthen the teeth with fluoride treatments and other preventative procedures, general dentistry can help your teeth and gums stay healthy for a lifetime.
Neuromuscular dentistry, by contrast, takes into account not only the teeth and gums, but the bones, muscles, and nerve structures that support the jaws and the entire facial area. When these structures are not in proper alignment, the results can lead to widespread discomfort and not just in the area of the mouth. One of the reasons TMD is so difficult to diagnose is due to the fact that the symptoms can occur in the jaw, ears, neck, head, and even the shoulders and back.
Why does TMD have such a wide variety of symptoms?
The symptoms of TMD vary so much because the nerves of the face and jaw also branch out into the neck, head, and shoulders. A misalignment of the jaw, then, can result in compression or misalignment of nerves that lead to other areas of the body. Because of this complex interrelationship, TMD symptoms can include:
- Persistent headaches
- Jaw pain
- Neck pain
- Pain in the shoulders and/or back
Because these symptoms can also occur as a result of other, more serious problems, it is important to rule out these possibilities before seeking treatment from a neuromuscular dentist. If your regular doctor is unable to diagnose these issues, though, it is a good possibility that TMD might be the cause.
Can any dentist provide effective treatment for my TMD?
Only an experienced neuromuscular dentist can provide effective, long-lasting treatment for TMD. High-quality neuromuscular dentistry requires extra training to learn how the different systems of the mouth and face all interact.
A neuromuscular dentist may treat TMD using a TENS device to completely relax the muscles of the jaw. This allows the jaw to fall into proper alignment—a position it may not have been in for years. Once proper alignment is determined, Dr. Walsh-Cole will recommend a course of treatment to keep the mouth and jaw in the right position. This treatment could include use of porcelain veneers, porcelain crowns, orthotics to wear at night, or traditional orthodontic procedures.
If you suffer from chronic pain such as headaches, earaches, or neck and shoulder pain, and believe TMD might be the culprit, please contact Mary Walsh-Cole, DMD for a neuromuscular dentistry consultation. Mary Walsh-Cole is an experienced San Diego, Encinitas, and Carlsbad, California area neuromuscular dentist, and would be happy to help you overcome the chronic discomfort of TMD.